BBC BLOGS - James Reynolds' China
« Previous | Main | Next »

Watching the torch

Post categories:

James Reynolds | 05:30 UK time, Friday, 2 May 2008

Rule One of Journalism for Big Events says that you often never get to see the actual event you're covering. This applies particularly for summits and presidential visits - where the media are kept so far back that you'd sometimes be better off staying at home and watching it all on tv. I've covered endless events where I've seen almost nothing and had to watch it all a day later (not even remotely satisfying).

Crowds at the Olympic torch relay in Hong KongSo, this morning I hoped to break this rule - by actually seeing the Olympic torch as it headed through Hong Kong.

We started off not far from the Hong Kong Cultural Centre - where the relay was due to start. A handful of pro-democracy demonstrators stood on a corner and shouted "Freedom." Some pro-China campaigners decided to drown them out them by singing the Chinese national anthem. One man walked by and shouted out "Dogs" to the pro-democracy protestors.

An hour before the relay began, my colleagues and I packed ourselves into a crowd along Nathan Road - a few hundred metres from the start (crowd was so dense that it you took a deep breath someone was likely to take up the space once occupied by your stomach.) Almost everyone around us was dressed in red - they'd come to cheer on China. The police stood in front of us. One officer with the word "Negotiator" written on the back of his jacket walked by - not sure his skills were ever needed.

A little after 10.30am, the crowd began to cheer. We all had a look down the street - I could just about make out an athlete running with the torch. The crowd shouted "Go China" in Cantonese. The torch went by - a few metres in front of us. Nobody made a lunge for it. And that was it.

It was more fun than watching it on TV a day later.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 06:05am on 02 May 2008, radio-one wrote:

    Hope you had a fun time watching the torch relay in Hong Kong, James.

    I didn't get the impression that Hong Kong people were pro-China, things must have changed. Perhaps it was the recent protests elsewhere and some biased reporting against China that ignite their patriotism.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 07:03am on 02 May 2008, LesleyHan wrote:

    'crowd was so dense that if you took a deep breath someone was likely to take up the space once occupied by your stomach',haha....

    Apparently, China can not develop his economics with the flowers and applause of western countries, we could only develop our nation,go straightly ahead our ways with the criticise, although sometimes it might be injustice.

    Support China, and good luck to Beijing.

    Good day in Hongkong, James.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 10:59am on 02 May 2008, fairreport wrote:

    Feel sorry for you again, James, the people in Hongkong disppointed you - you were supposed to see protesters againist China, were you?

    As a matter of fact,we Chinese in China and overseas are really united now, thanks for the Western media, I have to emphasis your contribution is the biggest above all "balanced" "unbiased" "fair" Western reporters on torch relay!

    Go James Reynolds! Go China!

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 11:10am on 02 May 2008, yetingsong wrote:

    You must be really disappointed that there were no major demonstrations or disruptions to the torch relay in Hong Kong. And I'll bet you're probably regretting not staying in your nice air-conditioned hotel where you could spend time coming up fresh ways to demonise China and her people. I truly think you're the kind of reporter who curses this world a corrupt and chaos place where you can put into good use of your usual "wit" and sarcasm.

    I also want to comment on your editor’s usual excuse of such sarcastic reporting style by keeping on saying that the “Truth” hurts but the actual fact is that your main audience is British people and you’re feeding the same old racial stereo type to your audience here in Britain. I don’t think you care a great deal about the real issue or indeed show any respect to the subject you’re reporting. You care much more about the laughs you get back from the English audience and reinforcing the false sense of superior race and fair society here in Britain.

    As a fellow Cambridge graduate, I’d offer a free piece of advice, try and learn the Chinese culture and report the real hope and despair of the average Chinese people. You will find the Chinese are lovely bunch of people and they are much more receptive to constructive criticisms and respond well to lead by example.

    Good luck to you and I hope you can make a real difference in the BBC and show a fresh perspective of China to your audience in Britain.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 11:17am on 02 May 2008, yetingsong wrote:

    The World is changing, China is changing, but your audience in Britain is still sitting at the bottom of the well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 11:41am on 02 May 2008, frankCochabamba wrote:

    Good going James and nice reporting on Hong Kong and the torch relay. At least you didn't have to see it on TV.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 11:43am on 02 May 2008, cheungl0711 wrote:

    I really wanted to be there - definitely a once in a lifetime event for a student like me.
    As a Chinese, I'm glad that we are showing such amazing support for our own country. Can't wait until August!

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 12:41pm on 02 May 2008, tommywang wrote:

    James,

    good to see a report like this!

    i hope being in China will make you a link/bridge for a better Sino-British relationship, and a better understanding of the situations/events within its unique historical/political/cultural context. :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 2:02pm on 02 May 2008, fairreport wrote:

    Hi James, watched your BBC report on the night before torch relay in Australia. I have a couple of things to mention:

    (1) You said "World is watching Australia will follow the money, or conscience", this is wrong, should be "World is watching Australia will follow the conspiracy or conscience".

    (2) You said Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, speaks perfect Chinese, which is wrong also, he speaks understandable Chinese, far from perfect.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 2:31pm on 02 May 2008, Jianbo Yang wrote:

    Hi James, I can feel from what you wrote you are a bit disappointed not seeing huge protest in Hongkong. As a correspondent, this is your job to be on site to tell the audience what is happening, not watching TV to pass the news to the audience, like what you have done when reporting Tibet riot. You will make mistake by doing this weay. We pay TV licence to you, guy! We deserve fair and true report.

    James, there is nothing wrong for Chinese people to be proud of their country and their honour to host the game, just like two years ago, when England rugby team won the champingship and the London was very crowded for celebration as well. But your correspondent attitude that time was very different from whet you have today. They were excited for England team and England nation; your are disapponted not seeing much protest.

    Sorry for you James. But I believe British people and Chinese people sooner or later will have better communication and understanding each other, even poisoned by correspondents like you.

    Sometimes I ask myself, what motivate you not reporting China in a fair and justice style? What are you doing in China when expending our TV licence fees with your big expatriate package, enjoying your easy life in China.

    I believe the people there must be very nice to you. Be nice to them and especially to their country, guy!! At least to be fair to them when you report of them!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 2:48pm on 02 May 2008, Bob wrote:

    There is a typo in your blog entry:

    "crowd was so dense that it you took a deep breath someone was likely to take up the space once occupied by your stomach."

    I think that "it" was suppose to be a "if".

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 2:53pm on 02 May 2008, marty42 wrote:

    Keep going with the blog. I think your Chinese audience is not used to the gloomy tone of British news towards all news - murders, kidnappings, crashes, weather problems, drunkeness. We are used to it - they think it specifically aimed at China.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 3:17pm on 02 May 2008, derek_boom wrote:

    Thanks James,

    It was a fun (but rainy) day in HK with lots of smiling faces and a sea of red, red, red. I hoped to see some orange this morning, but whoa ... only a few ignorant domestic workers going to the market.
    I just saw your report on the BBC World (Asia Today) and was somewhat disappointed - because it was A LOT about the protests and demonstrations. I don't think that was actually what the day was about.
    I think it's remarkable that so many HK'ers are so warmly welcoming the torch. HK is becoming more and more Chinese. I am not sure if that's news - but it's definitely worth mentioning.
    Thanks for all your other good stories - incl. those about Tibet.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 3:28pm on 02 May 2008, saucygit wrote:

    Sad to see people who are from a land with no press freedom criticising the free press. That is a tad rich. Big chips on some fragile shoulders are also evident here, confusing the minds of the Chinese diaspora including the so called educated chap from Cambridge no less. Seems like the chap has not learned much while he was there. BBC and the rest of the free press is on to the Chinese government and not the Chinese people because the regime is non-democratic and dictatorial. No one here has got any issue with the Chinese people at all. We need to make that point clear. Chinese people need to understand it is bad form to cheer on the Peking dictatorship giving the idea that they will support any form of government as long as it is "Chinese". What values, standards and norms the said government stands for is for them irrelevant and trivial.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 3:46pm on 02 May 2008, mrlim2008 wrote:

    Hey James,glad you had a chance to mingle with the crowd rather than watch the procession in a hotel room. Were your colleagues and you dressed in red?

    I think the police commissioner of HK has made it very clear about its intolerance towards protesters and he made a very clear point that the event is about sports. And that's how it should be!

    Beijing 2008 is going to be amazing!

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 4:43pm on 02 May 2008, wtlhInLondon wrote:

    Hi, I would just like to add that the reason why the pro-democracy protesters or the current pro-democracy movements are quite unpopular in China or amongst Chinese people is not because of democracy it-self. It is because of the quality of people who are currently doing the protesting. Those people usually do nothing positive, except complaining just about every single aspect of life in China. It is okay to complain, but they also need to contribute more to the society if they are to be taken seriously. They also frequently supported issues which damages Chinese interests (in the name of it will damage the Chinese government). It is not hard to distrust people who promotes things contrary to national interest, never criticise western policies while at the same time never praises the Chinese government even when it had done something good, and most importantly contributed nothing to the development of the country while other people in China are working hard. Until they seriously start to address these issues, they are never going to be taken seriously by people and will just be a nuisance.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 4:56pm on 02 May 2008, objection2it wrote:

    well, there was nothing new on the BBC news today about the torch relay in Hong Kong.

    some old game the news people are showing on TV, they were trying to find the anti-China protestors in the ocean of red pro-China supporters.

    didn't see much of the relay in the streets of Hong Kong, but was happy to see the close up of the reporter so I can count all the hair on his head. hard to do in 45 seconds.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 6:44pm on 02 May 2008, Willy_Oslen wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 19. At 7:39pm on 02 May 2008, marvellousHKPHOOEY wrote:

    Well having watched the events on TV, you would think it was a genuine out poring of love for China. The reality is every Hong Konger I have spoken to is just bored with the whole olympics.

    In fact the crowd were NOT Hong Kongers, but mainlanders seemingly shipped in for the event. Was in Tsim Sha Tsui in the early evening and there were mainlanders with there red shirts everywhere, but strangely no flags. My wife even said that she recognized that some had come even from Northern China by there accents.

    It reminded me of talking to my Romanian Brother in Law of how they would also be trucked in to the capital to cheer on the Communist government every year.

    So please remember not everything is always at it seems and a dark day for freedom of speech in Hong Kong.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 7:54pm on 02 May 2008, Willy_Oslen wrote:

    Why it is so slow to moderate comments???

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 8:02pm on 02 May 2008, andrewcyk wrote:

    I think the Western media, including BBC, was hijacked by the “free Tibet” movement. They used this moment to criticize China even though the Chinese police took an unusual subdued response to the Tibet riot. I saw the rioters throwing rocks to the police, tearing down gates of the surrounding shops, burning building and killing innocent merchants, setting cars on fire, chasing and attacking Hans and other minorities. I did not see police wielding their baton and chasing after the rioters. I did not see water canon, tear gas, or bullets used against the rioters. This was probably one of the most restrained responses from the Chinese police that I had ever seen in comparison with the other police actions against the rioters in almost every past world summit (in Seattle, or in Genoa, Italy, etc…). How can the Western press show such arrogance and hypocrisy? Western powers had probably committed more crimes against humanity than most other cultures in the history.

    Poor James now finds the rest of the world is indifferent to the anti-China rhetoric. In stead, the other part of the world (except London, Paris, and San Francisco) wants to cherish the moment and enjoy the Olympic spirit by watching and cheering the Olympic torch relay. I feel sorry to the people in London, Paris, and San Francisco (where I currently live). They just lost the special moment that would not come in another decade. How can the West be so out of step with the rest of the world? I hope they will do some soul searching and correct the mistakes that they have made. Meanwhile, I hope James would let go his pride and prejudice, enjoy, and celebrate the Olympic spirit like the Chinese and the rest of the world.

    Andrew

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 11:58pm on 02 May 2008, yigetc wrote:

    Dear James,

    Had a nice day? Good.

    However I am still waiting for your apology. I think visiting this blog will be my daily routine job for the next few weeks, really just want to help you to be a better reporter.

    "After predicting early on that Chile's former military leader Augusto Pinochet would never be arrested, I then found myself spending the next several years reporting on his arrest and trial. (I learned never to make any more predictions after that.)"

    Oh, really? On 6th of April, you predicted your so-called "Communist" Chinese official media would never show the torch disruption in London. This is what you said, "There is one simple rule, the Chinese government will never show anything bad..." So, you have the famous selective memory symptoms or just like your employer, you have got double standard?

    As a professional journalist, you are not a psychic. As you said, "you learned never to make any more predictions", but you forgot that easily.

    You should make an official apology.Not from your boss, which I spent hours to find. Why? Because that is professionalism. People do make mistakes, but the important thing is what next step people take. What you did? Opened a blog starting with:

    "I've been the BBC's Beijing correspondent since November 2006. I've choked on pollution, had maggots for dinner, been humiliated at ping pong, used binoculars to pick out China's identically dressed leaders, been interrogated by policemen in dark glasses, and had Chairman Mao's grandson jump down the steps of the Great Hall of the People to avoid being interviewed by me." ?

    Certainly, this your blog, it is your space, you have the right to express how you feel.

    But you were sent to China to report news and facts not personal feeling. Your reporting has been really mixed with a lot of your personal objectives.

    So, still waiting for your apology. Just want to see you can show some respect to the nation that you need to working with. Otherwise, please GET OUT OF CHINA!

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 02:14am on 03 May 2008, xuechen wrote:

    I am a Chinese, and I am worrying that my government is not telling the truth about Tibet. Why would they hate us so much? There must be a reason. They are not mad people. And the Dalai Lama, is he really a terrorist? I saw Time magazine voted him most influential people in the world, more than our leaders. Are we wrong? Maybe we should start reading and listening to other sources, other than the government propaganda. Maybe we are acting like fools, only believing what we are told. What is the problem? How can we solve it? How can we make Tibet a peaceful and prosperous part of China?

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 10:19am on 03 May 2008, GoonerCow wrote:

    Hi James, it's nice to have you close here yesterday. I "occassionally" passed by Nathan Road after my overnight job. Perhaps, I was just standing next to you.

    Living in the west for over 16 yrs (including 6 years in London), I am not surprised on the way BBC and other western media are reporting about us. Though, it has wakened up the majority of the Chinese people (especially from mainland those born after 80's).

    Chinese people actually do love your culture a lot. Though, what happened in Paris and London, has really shockened and hurt our feelings. Perhaps, we never realized that the western world do actually hate us so much. This is a good change to see who is the true friend and who are the fake ones. Many western countries who usually had a 'good relationship' with us showed their true face.

    I doubt how many of the protestors in London and Paris can even point the location of Tibet on the world map? And how much do they know about the "truth" and the history about us? What is the truth? Did they ever know that Tibet was already part of China before Columbus discovered New America? Well.. the Tibet issue is far more complicated that many of you might realize.

    It is the fact that the majority of Hong Kong citizen are really pro-China. We in Hong Kong are fully aware that The beijing government has lots of problems better than anyone else in the world. The media in Hong Kong has always been reported every single issue in a balanced and fair way, different than yours, focussing on 96% of negative news, leaving only the 4% bad news - Human rights, polutation, tragedies etc.

    If China was our born mother, then Britian would be our stepmother, the mother who raised us and educated us. Although we have differences with our born mother, but that is our own family problems. Although we might argue or even hate her sometime.. but if someone is going to attack our mother; without doubt we are going to defence and protect her.

    Please keep your hands of our motherland, because it is our own family problems. We would love to talk to you if you try to understand us a bit more in a fairly way. We like to make friends with you as we did never truely hated you, even you destroyed our country and cut our land in pieces many years ago (read the Chinese history in 1899 and during the 20's - 30's)

    Thanks to the western media and naivy pro-Tibet protestors in the West, Chinese are becoming more and more united. We are already starting to 'accept' our mother now. Because we truly see how she had changed for the past 15 years. But do you see it? I really doubt it. If you are really that interested in our problems, please start to understand us first. Understand our history, our culture, economy, music, movies and people. Not just the chicken Chow Mein which you can get from the Chinese Take away on the corner of the street.

    I doubt it if you will show this message out but I'm glad at least you will read it.

    Lastly, my true wishes that you will enjoy your trip to Beijing! Good luck .

    Jacky typing this in a SPA in Shenzen, China ¬






    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 3:23pm on 03 May 2008, KrSund70 wrote:

    James:

    Wow, BBC goes out of its way to report that HK and China are 1 nation, 2 systems -- where, if I remember the quote correctly, HK is the only place in China where freedom of speech/assembly can be exercised by the Chinese people freely.

    So you've seen free Chinese speech in action James, yet you do sound dissapointed that, during the relay, the HK people, in an overwhelming majority voice, supported China, Beijing, and the Olympic Games. Yet for having seen so little, you certainly didn't miss the dozen or so protester there and made them the center-piece of your article/blog.

    I echo the voice of my Western-Chinese compatriots ... why are even HK Chinese so pro-China now? We are we Western-Chinese all united in Europe/Canada/The US/Oceania? That's the real story which you're missing. And I think it is being missed on purpose because you and/or your superiors know the answer, but do not like it.

    This entry isn't too biased James, but it is nevertheless still dismissive of the Chinese voice and fails to investigate the reasons why we all stand together with regard to current events. I expect more from you James, I do hope you do not let me down.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 3:48pm on 03 May 2008, fairreport wrote:

    James, you forgot to bring binoculars to pick out the protestors that day? You know, this is very unprofessional for a western reporter ...

    I am guessing you have a dozon different colored binoculars with you at any moment to pick out the bad things in China.

    As China is getting better and better, one day you will need to buy(or BBC sponsors you) a next generation high-precision Hubble Space Telescope!

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 02:12am on 04 May 2008, taobo33 wrote:

    Hi james just a remind that there is a riot happened in Germant ,Hamburg on 1st May.

    Till now all big media including BBC been silence on that riot.
    If you are interested you can check it out.

    That's exactly how double standard works in western countries.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 03:14am on 04 May 2008, VincentCoe wrote:

    It's naive to say whether Hong Kong people are pro-China or not. Cantonese (of which most Hong Kong people belong) is the most patriotic of all Chinese people. Everybody including those calling for democracy and/or against communist rule, loves China. To support the Beijing Olympics does not necessarily mean supporting the communist rule. Just as it's stupid to say those against the Iraq war in the United States are not pro-U.S..

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 06:33am on 04 May 2008, vainshadows wrote:

    I can see your disappointment right out of your tone. What happened to you James? You used to be so creative on issues like this. Let me give you some hints. Why didn't you imply people in Hongkong were brainwashed by Communist China?

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 09:39am on 04 May 2008, chingngai wrote:

    Hello from Hong Kong. I don't think it is that the attitude is changing, is just that the political culture in Hong Kong is pretty cold when our freedom and economic growth is not so much infringed. So most people would probably stay at home and watch TV. Some people may just go out there as a family event ignoring the political aspect of it (there are celebrities in the torch relay). And I doubt that much of the people in the 1st July 2003 march is likely to be the majority in the cheering crowd, at least not those with red flags and shouted go China. But I see there is a growing gap between the pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps, before 1997 the pro-Beijing camp was far from popular in Hong Kong and now it seems that it has reversed and the trend is growing. Perhaps the late democracy schedule has made people to start re-considering if the democrats are worth giving them another vote for. Anyways the status quo is supported by many people, especially if freedom is not too much infringe, though self-censorship within journalists in Hong Kong is very common today.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 6:12pm on 04 May 2008, SeasonShe wrote:

    Glad that you have witnessed the truth. As a Chinese citizen,and so it is with most of the Chinese people home and abroad I suppose ,I support our country.I admit that the CCP government is far from being "well-behaved" by western standards.But things are changing,aren't they?China is making progress,with our own efforts,instead of western guidelines. Criticizing the government and working out the solution is one thing,and supporting the motherland is quite another.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 03:13am on 05 May 2008, tkbutt wrote:

    Hong Kong people are among the most well-informed and balanced in the world. They have access to not just the full spectrum of the "free" commercial media including Taiwan's, but also the "one-sided" state media from mainland China. With such a wealth of information available they are definitely the most qualified people to voice an opinion on Chinese issues such as Tibet and the Bejing Olympics.

    While generally supportive of China as a nation they hold a sceptical view of the Communist Party and hold a deep respect for the spirits of democracy and human rights. This is reflected in their annual rally on 4th June to commemorate the Tiananmen Square crackdown and on July 1st rally to protect democracy in the territory.

    The sea of humanity witnessing and supporting the torch relay is a heart warming reflection that the Olympic movement is to be supported - not hijacked.

    On this day, the people of Hong Kong have spoken resoundingly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 06:58am on 05 May 2008, richardshughes wrote:

    I wonder what proportion of the crowd were Han Chinese from the mainland?

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 2:54pm on 05 May 2008, lhobdrak wrote:

    It's very sad to see all of these Chinese students studying in UK and abroad criticising the media in the West about China's appalling treatments of its human rights activists and dissidents.

    The very right that is afforded to them(foreigners) to express their opinions is denied in China with brutal force whether they be Tibetan, Uirghur activists or even human rights activists like Hu Jia for daring to say that human rights were more important than staging the Olympics.

    The day a Brit or American can protest China's Tianamen Square massacre in China without fear of being arrested, deported or even worse, jailed and tortured is the day China will have finally awaken. Basic human rights such as freedom of speach, freedom of assemblly, freedom of the press are universal rights. Chinese everywhere, especially those in the West must take their responsability to protest for these rights. Remember, all the rights and freedom today were won through protest. The best example of this is Martin Luther King and Gandhi. The Dalai Lama is another.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 00:23am on 06 May 2008, YiXin921 wrote:

    There are thousands of news agencies in China. As far as I know just a few people check news from Xinhua-the state run news agency, and the number of people who check news for English website of Xinhua is nearly neglectable. Chinese people normally read some online protal sites,internet forums and famous blogs or local news paper to find out what happen in the world. Why do you just quote news from the English website of Xinhua-the state run news agency??? Or because you just know Xinhua and dont know other ways to get news in China. Sorry for you, I forget that you dont know Chinese, how can you get information from other media? It's a shame. But why did BBC send you to China? According to your reports, why does BBC just hire someone to check Xinhua English website and weave stories at home???That's more economical than pay you bonus to let you enjoy a high standard life in China.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 00:37am on 06 May 2008, YiXin921 wrote:

    So many comments are waiting for moderation. Funny, is this the so-called freedom of speech??? Lucky for Chinese, at least in China, you called a communist country, people enjoy more freedoms of speech than in this so-called free country.
    Hey,James, I think you have felt that. That is why you can send so many ridiculous reports from China and enjoy your good life in China at the same time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 5:14pm on 06 May 2008, objection2it wrote:

    Imaging when more and more Chinese people in China use western style of freed speech to bash the West and when they can communicate back in English and other western languages on the internet. can you see it coming?

    Many of these posters here who are anti-China anything will find it very hard to get a word in side ways.

    It took more than 200 years for the blacks to get respect and freedom from white America and longer from Europe, it will be demanded by the next Chinese generation.

    There over 1.3 billion stories in China, a few bad ones don't make it news.

    The Olympic torch going to all the regions in China is the main story not anti-China or pro-Tibet activists and not even protestors who just want to be on the news.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 00:18am on 07 May 2008, YiXin921 wrote:

    To "34. At 2:54 pm on 05 May 2008, lhobdrak "


    How did hear about that”if people express their opinions in China they will be denied with brutal force”??? Now James Reynold is so famous in China, so many people know some of his ridiculous reports, why is he still enjoying his life in China??? In high school(The Affiliated High School of Beijing University) I wrote many articles to criticize some policies about Chinese government when I was doing composition exercise or a editor of school magazine, why am I still alive and supporting China now???
    And again, how did you know there was a massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989??? I grow up in Beijing and studied in affiliated schools of universities. Most of my classmates’ parents are teachers and professors in Universities. I have heart a lot of stories about the student protest in 1989. There was nothing about massacre. Even these university teachers, they said that with a good will these students did a wrong thing in 1989. My mother told me that at the beginning even some of her colleagues signed a letter to support these students but just after few days these protest became to be very radical and then they realized that this was not a simple protest. Anyway, even people experienced this protest can not give a judgment for it, how can you give a conclusion for it called “massacre”????
    About speech of freedom, I can tell that at least in China you don't have to wait for moderation even that you write something to attack China. There is really a system to censor through internet, but as people having a basic knowledge we know how to dodge it. If you are really caught by the system, they will just delete your comments and nothing more will happen.
    I don't think that people enjoy less human rights and freedoms in China than in UK. But there are definitely some differences because of different cultures. Chinese people welcome criticisms. But, please, before you blame China, make sure that you have got the unbiased information!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 05:43am on 07 May 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    I like watching the Olympic Torch being on the Road......around the world....

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 2:18pm on 07 May 2008, lhobdrak wrote:

    To YiXin921,

    It's sad that you yourself admit that you learned much about the Tianamen massacre of unarmed students through hearsay. Have ever bothered to research in other world's media about this unfortunate event. Have you ever even seen any videos? Have you seen the video or picture or even heard of the famous unknown chinese man who dare to stand in front of a row of tanks heading towards the students? Why don't ordinary chinese know about this brave man who was obviously on his way home from doing the grocery. More importantly why don't the chinese people ask where he is? Just because you are able to ananymously post some comments doesn't mean you have freedom. I dare you to stand in front of the Tianamen Square with a sign stating, "Human Rights is more important than the Olympics!". I bet you'll end up in the same jail as Hu Jia.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 9:41pm on 08 May 2008, KennethWu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 42. At 06:57am on 09 May 2008, tkbutt wrote:

    By summing up the events that took place on the streets of Hong Kong as "THAT WAS IT", James, you have failed to convey to us the hope and despair, sheer happiness and anger, and all other emotional extremes that was everywhere to be seen that day.

    These 3 apathetic words convey more to us your state of mind and pre-existing perceptions toward China than the day-to-day lives of this incredible country. These 3 lousy words surely don't explain to us the reasons for the joyous faces of the young men and women pictured in the photo above. They don't capture the mixed feelings of the crowds as they saturated the air with loud chantings of "Freedom" and "Go China". Indeed some of the responses in this blog captured the feelings of the people with better effect and vigour than you did.

    I hope that in future postings that you, as a correspondent of China for a world-class media organisation, would convey to us the feelings of the Chinese people and their daily lives in a more receptive and enthusiastic manner, rather than being trivial, cynical and dismissive with them all as captured by these 3 dismal words: "THAT WAS IT".

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 12:22pm on 09 May 2008, KennethWu wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 44. At 5:31pm on 09 May 2008, KennethWu wrote:

    Why are people connecting the current tibetan issues with the Tianmen square incident?
    This is an insult to the matyrs that died fighting for what they believed to be a better china (although i agree with some of their actions, i still see that the current governments actions did alot more to develope china, socially and economically).
    But why are we comparing largely peaceful, educated students who wanted a better china to those violent, ignorant, racist mobster who attacked anything non-tibetan (including people) with the intent to split china? This is an insult to those who died 6.4.
    You claim to know about the 6.4 protests? let me inform you further (the non BBC version)
    1. It started as a memorial service to Hu Yaobang, a great revolutionary and reformist. The students honoured his achievements. And the students wanted to carry on his work of reforming the party to be more open, less corrupt. So it started as a pro communist rally, and only wanted the party to improve. But it soon turned radical.
    2. The students also wanted better living conditions and financial support for their studies. They wanted better living quarters and more money to help them cope with their studies. They also wanted to end the perceived practice of letting in foreign students (mainly african) with lower grades.
    3. They saw democracy as a solution to these issues.
    4. but another side to this is not from the mainly middle classed students but from the blue collar workers who lost out due to the economic reforms since they lost their health care, they lost their jobs since the government didn't support the heavy industries anymore. So the workers wanted to go back to the communist ways.
    5. Mixed with all of this is the military, several units were ready to mutiny, the Beijing garrison wasn't even allowed out. So china was on the brink of civil war again. The last civil war cost the lives of 7 million, and the one before that (taiping rebellion cost the lives of over 20million). A civil war would have weakened china beyond repair, all the developements over the 80s would have been for nothing, china would have been destroyed and foreign powers would have been able to take advantage of it, AGAIN.

    The modern day government policies were able to solve the problems the students had presented.Further more the modern day acheivements were better than what the students could have ever dreamed of. Although some of the students ideals have not been recognised currently, but they will be in the future, its a developing process.

    When we look at past events, we must be able to remember them, learn from them, but we should never hold grudges, looking at history we must be able to recognise when we were wrong (the government has already started this process, they have already given some compensation to families).
    Above all when we judge a person or organistion by its history, we must also look at where they are now and where they will be in the future, we should not dewell upon their mistakes, but look at how they've improved. Sure the chinese government like all other governments may have had bad policies (great leap forward, cultural revolution etc) but we must look at them and judge whether they will happen again. And anyone who knows the current status of china will agree these will never happen again because times have changed,china has changed, the chinese people and government has changed. But has the western views of china changed?

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 08:25am on 20 May 2008, ZhongShanParkRangers wrote:

    James, I am a Brit, a strong supporter of the BBC, a critic of certain aspects of China's domestic and foreign policy decisions and also a Shanghai resident and Chinese speaker. In this context I have to say that our reports about the torch relay have been an embarrassment. Could you please inform us all about your background and what knowledge of China and sinology you have. It appears that you have certain opinions you want to publicise and then you go about finding evidence to support them. China has many many problems but your reports do nothing to explain them or put them in context. Please try harder.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 6:20pm on 26 May 2008, eithogrizzeen wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 47. At 6:24pm on 26 May 2008, eithogrizzeen wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.